NatWest and WWF announce strategic partnership for agriculture

NATWEST and WWF have announced a new strategic partnership to support a sustainable transition for the UK food and agricultural sectors.

Together, NatWest and WWF will work to bring together players across the food and agriculture sectors in the UK to channel and scale private and public finance to support farmers to achieve climate and nature goals, including calling on government to reform agricultural payments. The strategic partners will also collaborate to provide guidance advice and tools to help deliver transition plans in the UK food and agriculture sectors.

With farmland covering 70% of the UK, and agriculture accounting for up to 11% of UK climate emissions* and likely to rise further, agriculture is a crucial player in tackling the climate and nature crises. It is a sector which needs immediate funding, support and guidance to adopt climate and nature friendly practices to become economically and environmentally resilient for the future.

The strategic partnership follows a new report published in May by NatWest which found that 82% of farmers want to embrace the climate and nature challenges and transition their growth, but they need support to do this. That’s why NatWest has committed to lending almost £7billion to UK agriculture.

WWF’s vision for UK farming, set out in its Land of Plenty report, is for a net-zero world bursting with life, where the connections between the food people eat and how it has been produced are re-established, where growers and producers get a fairer share of the market, where nature thrives within and outside farmland and where shifts in diets support high quality food from circular, regenerative systems.

Alison Rose DBE, Chief Executive, NatWest Group said “The UK agriculture sector is at a turning point – facing higher costs, declining domestic production and supply chain issues, whilst also trying to reduce their climate emissions.

“The industry needs collective action for a sustainable and secure future. So we’re delighted to be partnering with WWF to mobilise public and private investment into climate and nature friendly farming, ensuring that our farmers are properly supported throughout.

NatWest has committed nearly £7billion of total funding to agriculture to date, and we will continue standing side by side with farmers to give them the support they need to invest in their transition.”

Tanya Steele CBE, CEO, WWF said: “With UK nature in free fall, there is no true food security without tackling climate change and protecting and restoring the natural world which underpins our farming system. Our shared vision is for a flourishing farming sector that is equipped to achieve a net-zero future bursting with life, where growers and producers get a fairer share of the market and are supported with sustainable, long-term financing.

“Farmers are eager to embrace a new world of lower emissions and nature restoration, not least because it is in the long-term interests of their sector. But they need support and certainty to make it a reality. WWF and NatWest understand that productivity and sustainability can go hand in hand, and that more and more customers and consumers expect it.”

The announcement follows an industry round table co-hosted by NatWest and WWF at the Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh last week, one of the largest celebrations of farming, food and rural life in the UK. The round table brought large businesses in the Scottish agricultural sector together with policymakers and industry groups, following a similar workshop in London in April.

* Editor’s note – Emissions are not always the best way to assess the climate impact of agriculture, particularly when the role of ruminant livestock is being considered. It is the warming impact which is most important – and naturally cycling ruminant emissions do not deliver additional ongoing warming where the size of herds and flocks remains stable.


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